Cooking up a storm

Back in December 2007, MCV reported that a certain game had cooked up one million sales in Europe, after only a year of release.

Shortly afterwards the game got international credentials, when it clocked up 1.6 million sales in the US. Not bad for a DS and Wii game based on a culinary premise and from a smaller publisher.

The effect of the success of Cooking Mama and other key DS and Wii titles was to open the eyes of the industry to the sales potential from those Nintendo consoles. 505 provided the industry with a real underdog success story.

With Cooking Mama 2: Dinner With Friends now out on DS and set for release on Wii shortly, and fresh from the award success, we took the opportunity to quiz the firm.

Ian Howe, managing director at 505 Games told MCV what the award meant to the people behind the scenes at the publisher. Had they expected to win the award? Not at all considering the competition we were up against,” Howe explained. It was a nice surprise and a real vindication of the enormous amount of hard work the team has put in over the past 12 months. Not just on Cooking Mama, but across all areas of our business.”

The build-up to the success of Cooking Mama and the Sales Triumph Award had not been all plain sailing, as Howe described: ”Getting any business off the ground and running in a way that you are satisfied with is a tough job and we’ve faced every challenge you can imagine. The biggest hurdle is communicating to the trade and consumer that the product is something they will enjoy and should buy.

The fact that Cooking Mama took everyone by surprise counted in our favour – everyone loves an underdog!”

And who did Howe admire from the tough set of competitors up against the young publisher? There are so many competitors and partners who we draw inspiration from. I think Nintendo deserve all the credit they get for opening up new opportunities.”

And it’s that opportunity that companies like 505 has taken advantage of, which has in turn boosted the games industry to its most successful year ever.

Undoubtedly it’s been a good year for the sector, but I think we are all aware of the shots being fired in our direction. The criticism that we face as an industry only serves to illustrate how relevant it is at the moment.”

Looking forward, Howe believes it’ll be another transformative year for the trade: I think further consolidation in the publishing community is somewhat inevitable. I would also expect larger media groups to make moves into the interactive space more aggressively in the next year.”

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